(CBS) In a fascinating oral history of the original NBA Jam in Sports Illustrated recently, one of the Midway developers, Mark Turmell, revealed that there was a version of the video game that included most notably Michael Jordan and also Gary Payton and Ken Griffey Jr. in it.
This was a revelation because Jordan had opted out of the NBA Players’ Association’s licensing agreement, choosing instead to market his one-of-a-kind likeness individually rather than as part of a group in this case. That meant Jordan’s likeness couldn’t be used in the video game.
Turmell explained that he made a special version of the game with Jordan, Payton and Griffey included after Payton — with an assist from his representation, as Payton tells it — harped on Midway to be in it, saying Griffey and Jordan were his friends and wanted to be in it as well. At the time, Kemp and Benoit Benjamin represented the Supersonics, as Turmell told SI.
As the story goes, there were only a select few arcade cabinets with the Jordan-Payton-Griffey trio, and they obviously haven’t been publicly available.
So where do those special arcade cabinets and versions reside now? Well, three of the arcade cabinets are at Payton’s home in the Bay Area in California, Payton explained in an interview with Matt Spiegel and Laurence Holmes on 670 The Score on Friday.
That’s right — if you want to use Jordan in NBA Jam, you have to go to Payton’s garage.
“I got three of them,” Payton said. “I got three of them. And they’re sitting in my garage in the Bay Area and they’re sitting there and they’re antiques … and I get them refurbished so they can stay working. My kids were in love with them, so I had to buy three of them. So I bought three of them, because at the time, I had different homes. So then when I consolidated, I brought all three of them back. I still got them as of today. I still got them.
“Mint condition. I keep them stored and refurbished because I want them to keep playing, because, you know, in the next couple of years, we’re talking about it right now, them games are going to be worth so much and people ain’t never gonna know about it in the next generation. I want them to see. And then when I give them to my kids, they can pass it on too.”
Listen to Payton’s full interview below. Also sitting in studio with Spiegel and Holmes is Tim Kitzrow, the original voice of NBA Jam.